Artificial reproduction and the family of the future
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 1998; 17(1): 93-111
The techniques of artificial reproduction have until fairly recently been geared to overcoming male sterility by means of AID and IPSI and female sterility by way of GIFT, VISPER and DIPI. The above techniques have concentrated on achieving conception either within or without the uterus. Gestation has always been completed in utero and the therapy was reserved for married couples. The above circumstances only required limited legal regulation and its effect on the family unit was minimal because the child was mostly conceived from the gametes of its parents New technologies which are looming on the horizon, however, threaten to change the concept of parent and family radically. I refer to the imminent perfection of the artificial uterus and the cloning of human cells. If these technologies are sanctioned, a child would be conceived from the cells of one parent only and will not be gestated within the mother's womb. How will society and the law react to these technologies? Will they regulate them or proscribe them? I will argue in favour of the former rather than the latter.
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